Some 30 officers from nine different law enforcement agencies fanned across an area bordering a creek near Tully and Center Roads looking for transient sex offenders who had failed to register with police. "In California, sex offenders have to register every 30 days if they're transient, in other words, if they don't have a residence," explained Sgt. Kurtis Standerup.
Santa Clara County has more than 4,000 registered sex offenders and 500 of them are known transients. "Right now, we know of at least 20 that are out of compliance. We don't know where they are because they don't have a residence," Standerup said.
Looking them up in the Megan's Law Registry list wouldn't do any good either. "If you went through Megan's Law and you queried a search looking for these people, they wouldn't show up in the designated area," Standerup said.
The task force chose a thickly-wooded area near the creek because of its large homeless encampments. The creek is also near a residential community which could be a target for sexual predators. "There's a large number of houses around that area and there's also a school around that area. So, it's really important for us to go through this area," Standerup said.
By the end of the day, the task force had made numerous arrests. Some were transients who violated their parole. A few had knives. Others had outstanding arrest warrants. Police also found sex offenders in the encampments, but most were in compliance.
Standerup says just getting their current information may make a difference down the road. "At least we can make note of where we found them so that if they chose not register next time, we at least have an idea of where we can find them."
Thursday was day one of a continuing operation.